'I want to bring a different element to the legal field, inspire other young Pacific peoples to get into the legal profession...'
Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Pacific Studies
Administrator, College of Education, Health and Human Development, UC
Case Worker, Community Law Canterbury
It was her strong passion for the Law and to see more Pacifika lawyers in Canterbury that inspired Emma to carry on studying at UC after completing her Commerce and Arts undergrad degrees.
Emma’s initial study in Human Resource Management began her interest in Human Rights and policies, which would eventually lead to her Law studies.
‘I took this because I wanted better knowledge of interpersonal relationships, management and structure within the work place,’ she says. ‘I feel the skills and attributes are not merely academic but are practical in nature. For example you learn about the benefits and outcomes of building teams and organisational culture within a work place.
‘It teaches valuable performance management and training and how to enhance personal growth in the work force which is something that every person who gains employment will at some point face in their career, and there is nothing more valuable than building relationships with others and knowing how to do that in a professional setting.’
Emma’s Arts degree in Political Science tied in well with the skills gained from her Commerce degree, with its emphasis on people and the community.
‘I had an interest in the NZ political system, and how it works with policy and power that is generated around the political system. It ties in with HR as once again it focuses on ideals, interpersonal relationships and the use of power to create and put systems in place.’
Now studying Law, Emma loves the challenge of her degree, and looks forward to learning about the different avenues of Law.
‘I had previously wanted to intertwine my HR knowledge with Employment Law,’ she says. ‘Since starting the degree it has opened up other avenues to work in the legal field, and help people gain access to justice. I have a particular passion for Human Rights, Public and Commercial Laws.
‘Canterbury Law School has some nationally and internationally-renowned teaching staff so I knew my education was in good hands. UC has given me a wide avenue to explore future career pathways.’
Alongside study, Emma is also a volunteer with Community Law Canterbury. The experience has solidified her career goals to one day work in a law firm as a barrister or solicitor, focused on supporting people’s rights.
‘I want to bring a different element to the legal field. Inspire other young Pacific peoples to get into the legal profession and find ways to access justice for immigrants, especially Pacific people and minority groups.’
She currently supports UC’s Pacifika community, as a Pacific Mentor for the Pacific Development Team (PDT).
‘This is more social and emotional support, and really helping Pacific students fit into the University, become equipped to handle University life and become involved on campus, and also enable them to be comfortable with studying at Uni,’ she says. ‘I have also been a Pacific representative for Orientation and volunteered at numerous PDT events. The culture is based around a sense of community and helping each other when it is needed.
‘I have also been involved in the PASS programme. It has helped me with tutoring for some of my papers and is a good way to get to know more mature Law students who are further through the degree. Some of them have become good friends of mine following this programme so it has been helpful on more than just an academic level.’
With her journey through university so far, Emma encourages others to go for their interests and see where it takes them.
‘You don’t have to decide overnight what you want to do with your life. It’s often good to plan, and find what interests you and take papers relating to those interests. Seeing a course advisor is very helpful.’